Driven to distraction

All you have to do is look at today’s front-page story in the N&O to know that North Carolina faces some pretty hefty challenges. Hurricane Irene destroyed more than 1,100 homes and damage from the storm has reached $71 million and still climbing.

The same front page details how today is the final day of a federal program to help laid-off workers pay for health insurance while looking for work. With an unemployment rate topping 10%, this news will undoubtedly make worse the situation facing so many North Carolinians.

And yet, tucked in the Triangle section, aptly under political news is the headline, “GOP pushes same-sex marriage amendment.” That’s right. According to our new legislative majority, altering our state’s Constitution to deny couples the right to make a lifelong commitment to each other is pressing business.

Efficient management, or institutionalized racism?

More landfills in predominantly black neighborhoods:

Royal Oak does not have public water or sewer service. The lawsuit says it's part of a pattern of discriminatory behavior. "They are ignored as a community in their request for basic services, yet serve as the priority location for virtually every foreseeable environmental hazard in the county," the lawsuit states.

As some readers are probably aware, Greensboro has been polarized by efforts to reopen the White Street Landfill, located in another predominantly black neighborhood:

Folwell, Stam anti-gay offensive begins

Full video (31 minutes) of the press conference yesterday at the NC General Assembly where Republican Representatives Dale Folwell, Speaker Pro-Tem, and Paul "Skip" Stam, Majority Leader, announced the upcoming introduction of a state constitutional amendment to ban something that is already banned in North Carolina: gay marriage. Meanwhile President Barack Obama declared federal disasters in seven NC counties as Hurricane Irene destroyed more than 1,000 homes, decimated NC Highway 12 and croplands were flooded, with initial damage estimates of over $70 $190 $400 million. Glad to know they've got their priorities straight.


Explosion of lies and hypocrisy at bigots' amendment press conference

With the state still recovering from Irene, a string of severe storms last night, and massive unemployment, these two NC GOP leaders decide it would be a great time to hold a press conference on ... gay marriage.

The GOP's blank slate on job creation

We'll start with a Tweet I noticed yesterday:

NCGOP Aug 29, 12:35pm via TweetDeck @RepMikeMcIntyre did U read GOP jobs bill? Do u agree w/: NLRB shouldn't B allowed 2 interfere w/ jobs ?

What this Twit is referring to is the NLRB's attempt to keep Boeing from setting up operations in "right-to-work" SC vs unionized Washington State. But whether the NLRB was right or wrong for doing this is beside the point: The net number of new US jobs would be the same. If drinking some other state's milkshake is the pinnacle of the NC GOP's "jobs plan", we're in trouble. Deep trouble.

Welcome home, Rob

It's entirely possible that my criticisms of the N&O's Rob Christensen over the past few years have been the result of my own delusions. I have found him overly reliant on Art Pope's "experts" as sources, and too timid in challenging the radical agenda of our very own Tarheel Taliban. Lately, though, Christensen seems to have regained some of his old spark. I especially appreciate comments this week about the long-term destruction that will result from the Republican assault on city and regional planning. I'd welcome much, much more of this kind of insight.

But there is also a good chance that from this point on, we will see a gradual decline of North Carolina cities - one that may not even be noticeable for 20 years, when today's policymakers are long gone from the scene.

From Senator Kinnaird


Dear Friends,

August 26th was the commemoration of the 1920 passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States granting women the right to vote. An interesting fact about North Carolina is that the legislature didn’t ratify the Amendment until 1970.

NCCU Law alumna weighs in on Art Pope's proposal

The original letter contained numerous citations, fully documenting all claims. Unfortunately, I couldn't get them formatted properly, so I deleted them. My apologies.

Dean Raymond Pierce
North Carolina Central University School of Law
640 Nelson Street
Durham, NC 27707

*via electronic mail

August 29, 2011

Dear Dean Pierce:

I am writing to implore you to vote against accepting the invitation from the N.C. Institute for Constitutional Law to house a center at NCCU School of Law. I value the name of North Carolina Central University School of Law; I value what that name means. I believe an alliance with the N.C. Institute for Constitutional Law would tarnish the name of North Carolina Central University School of Law and is not in the best interests of its current students, its alumni, or the community at large.


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